We love highlighting different online crafting stores we’ve recently fallen for. This time around we’re chatting with Amy Gaines, the owner and operator of AmyGaines on Etsy. She also has a new book, Little Knitted Creatures, published by Leisure Arts. With over 20,000 transactions and a 100% positive feedback rating, this super-selling Etsy shop features whimsical crochet and knit amigurumi patterns and knits. Customers of Amy praise her shop for its speedy delivery and cute patterns.
How did you get into your craft? When did you start?
I learned to crochet from my grandmother when I was a little girl and learned to knit when my daughter was born and literally couldn't stop. Soon our tiny apartment was filled with yarn and toys! After I grasped the knitting basics, I began to develop my own patterns. I now sell my original knit and crochet amigurumi patterns in my Etsy shop, along with some finished toys and knits.
What inspires your work?
My daughter Audrey is 8 years old and very creative! I started making toys for her when she was just a baby. Then, as she grew older, she began to request different animals and creatures. Before long, she started sketching out many ideas and requests. Many of my patterns are from her designs and sketches. She is truly my biggest inspiration!
When did your shop open?
I opened my Etsy shop in April 2006. During that time, both Etsy and my business have grown tremendously. Besides Etsy, I do custom orders and wholesale orders to craft stores, sell patterns and do projects for yarn companies and magazines. I also have three books out with Leisure Arts including Little Knitted Creatures, which came out last August.
How many hours a week do you spend crafting?
That's hard to say. There is the time spent actually knitting and crocheting, and there is the time spent doing all the other tasks that go along with running the shop (emailing the patterns I sell, packing and shipping finished items, answering questions, etc.) I probably put in 50 to 60 hours a week total, about two-thirds of which is spent crocheting or knitting.
What’s your personal favorite item in your shop?
Probably my Knit Christmas Ornament Pattern Set — I just love Christmas.
What is one of your favorite online shops/sellers?
I LOVE Dannielle! My daughter has several of her fairy dolls that are so well made and she has unbelievable customer service. Also, Stacey Winters is truly amazing. Wonderful products, and fabulous service. I ordered a custom photo necklace as a Christmas gift for my sister, and it was the best present I have ever purchased. 6060 is my most favorite safety eye supply shop. Such a vast selection and super fast shipping.
Do you have an official site or blog?
My shop on Etsy. I have three pattern books out through Leisure Arts. On Twitter I am @amygaines, and on Facebook I have a fan page. Also, I have a website with a blog that I haven't really used but it has some pictures and links.
What's your favorite time of day to work?
Finding time is always a challenge. I am most productive during the quiet times — after my daughter has gone to bed or has left for school.